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Angels' restart will determine if they buy or sell

@RhettBollinger
July 10, 2019

ANAHEIM -- The first half of the Angels’ season was marred by tragedy with the death of 27-year-old left-hander Tyler Skaggs on July 1. It was an incredibly tough week for the club heading into a much-needed All-Star break, and Angels players have vowed to play in Skaggs’ honor in

ANAHEIM -- The first half of the Angels’ season was marred by tragedy with the death of 27-year-old left-hander Tyler Skaggs on July 1. It was an incredibly tough week for the club heading into a much-needed All-Star break, and Angels players have vowed to play in Skaggs’ honor in the second half, rallying around his catch-phrase: “We’re nasty.”

The Angels finished the first half 45-46 while dealing with injuries to key players such as Shohei Ohtani, Andrew Heaney, Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons and Zack Cozart. All-Star second baseman Tommy La Stella and catcher Jonathan Lucroy are also sidelined and will be out for an extended period. So, it’ll be an uphill battle in the second half and the Angels still must determine whether they’re going to be buyers or sellers at the July 31 Trade Deadline.

Current status: Hold
The Angels are 6 1/2 games back of the Indians for the second American League Wild Card spot, and they have the Rangers, Red Sox and A's ahead of them. While they're not out of it, they need to play well out of the break in series against the Mariners and Astros to become buyers. If they struggle to start the second half, the Angels could pivot and be sellers. Either way, they don’t figure to be too aggressive leading up to the Deadline.

What they are seeking
The Angels need pitching, especially relief help to add to a mostly effective but overworked bullpen. They could go after a starter, but it depends on how Matt Harvey and JC Ramírez look in their returns from injury, as both are expected to join the rotation after the break. They don’t have much need for a position player, although injuries to La Stella and Cozart have hurt their infield depth.

What they have to offer
If the Angels are sellers, they’re not likely to trade anyone who is under contract beyond next season. One wild card could be right fielder Kole Calhoun, who has shown impressive power this year, with 19 homers, but he has a $14 million option next year. If the Angels are out of the race and they don’t plan on picking up his option, he would provide some trade value to a contending team looking for a corner outfielder with power. Otherwise, their impending free agents are either injured like Lucroy or have been ineffective such as Harvey or Trevor Cahill.

Possible scenario
The Angels remain on the fringes of contention leading up to the Deadline and make a trade to add a reliever, but they don’t do anything drastic to jeopardize their chances of contending in 2020 and beyond.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.